2011 Hall of Fame: Joel Quadracci - The Next Generation
Trial by Fire(hose)
“It was like learning with a fire hose,” Quadracci remarks. “My father turned up the heat and I was put into some leadership roles. I’d done well in sales and he wanted to keep letting out the line to see where it went. ”
The turn of the millennium meant big changes in his life: Married in 2000, first child in 2001, the 9/11 attacks later in the year, and the death of his father in a drowning accident the following year. Quadracci became president in 2005, added CEO responsibilities a short time later and, within two years, the economy hit rock-bottom.
“It was a young age to be doing that, and a pretty condensed time frame,” Quadracci relates. “Every year, I was in a steep incline of learning experiences. But, I was fortunate to have great people at all levels who have been very supportive of me.
“We managed well, the whole team, by having good people in all the right places, managing for the times and not being shy. Despite some tough decisions, including layoffs for the first time. I’m proud of what our team has accomplished.”
Even without his father there for support, Quadracci has always been able to draw upon Harry’s wisdom.
“The whole foundation of our culture is based on treating people with respect, regardless of name, rank and serial number,” Quadracci says. “My father didn’t hang in CEO circles. His comfort zone was wearing the blue uniform, talking to people on the floor. The way he treated them, brought them into his home; it was a pure relationship, not a CEO to underling one. And, a lot of our best ideas come from the floor. That humbleness influenced me.”
Industry involvement and philanthropy have long been Quadracci family hallmarks. He is past chairman of the Direct Marketing Association’s committee on government affairs and is also involved in the Mail Moves America coalition. The company’s two charitable giving programs, The Community Fund and The Windhover Foundation, have contributed tens of millions of dollars to causes in the communities where Quad has operations.